Preparing Potential Senior Army Leaders for the Future: An Assessment of Leader Development Efforts in the Post-Cold War Era

by David E. Johnson

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Abstract

How well does the Army prepare its senior leaders for future missions involving joint, coalition, and "full spectrum" operations? This issue paper examines recent Army operational experiences to identify areas in which leaders were not fully prepared with respect to doctrine, training, and experience--areas that could prove problematic in future missions. The paper then describes the current institutional training most relevant to developing competencies for such missions and notes its limited attention to the nondoctrinal, other-than-war missions that have occurred since the end of the Cold War. The paper analyzes the operational experience and professional military education of a sample of combat arms officers who will potentially become senior Army leaders: officers selected to command tactical brigades, for promotion to brigadier general, and for promotion to major general. Most of those officers assessed have had careers focused mainly on Army assignments, and few have had experience in post-Cold War operations other than war. Relatively small fractions of these officers have held more than one joint assignment, have multinational staff experience, or have participated in other-than-war contingencies such as Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, or Kosovo. The paper concludes that the Army should provide greater emphasis to joint operational experience and should modify officer education to enhance joint and full spectrum operational competencies.

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